Infested flash drive caused worst U.S. military breach

A malware-laden flash drive caused the "most significant breach of" the nation's military computers ever, according to a new magazine article.

A malware-laden flash drive inserted in a laptop at a U.S. military base in the Middle East in 2008 led to the "most significant breach of" the nation's military computers ever, according to a new magazine article by a top defense official.

The malware uploaded itself to the U.S. Central Command network and spread undetected on classified and unclassified computers creating a "digital beachhead, from which data could be transferred to servers under foreign control," William J. Lynn III, U.S. deputy secretary of defense, wrote in his essay in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs.

ZDNet's Ryan Naraine was one of the first to report on the flash drive crisis: Under worm attack, US Army bans USB drives

"It was a network administrator's worst fear: a rogue program operating silently, poised to deliver operational plans into the hands of an unknown adversary," he wrote. This previously classified incident was the most significant breach of U.S. military computers ever, and it served as an important wake-up call. The Pentagon's operation to counter the attack, known as Operation Buckshot Yankee, marked a turning point in U.S. cyberdefense strategy."

For more on this story, read Bad flash drive caused worst U.S. military breach on CNET News.

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